23 September 2008

How to be a fool, in four easy steps

by Dan Phillips
"How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
23 If you turn at my reproof,

behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me,
but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently
but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
30 would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but whoever listens to me
will dwell secure
and will be at ease,
without dread of disaster."
(Proverbs 1:22-33)
How to be a fool:
  1. Do nothing, since folly is our natural state (cf. 1:24-25, 32; 22:15a).
  2. Don't listen to your parents, to sermons, or to wise friends (cf. 9:8a; 10:8; 12:15; 13:1; 15:12; 19:20, etc.).
  3. Don't think about Biblical blog posts that bother you (cf. 5:13; 9:7-8; 13:1b; 15:12, 31-32).
  4. Do nothing, since folly is our natural state (cf. 1:24-25, 32; 22:15a).
More along this line Thursday, Lord willing.

UPDATE: thanks, Doulos, for the birthday wishes. That feline having escaped the satchel, I share with y'all that I briefly considered some kind of "what I've learned" post. But really — and maybe this is an indictment of me — I don't think I could improve much on my 25 things I've learned, from 7/07. If we were each to list out ten of our own Pyro posts we imagine are most important, that would probably be one of mine.

Dan Phillips's signature


NoLongerBlind said...

Wow (no, I'm not Pagitt)
Looks like everyone is heeding steps 1 and 4!

Anonymous said...

As soon as I read the title of this post in my Google Reader, I knew it was Dan expositing the Proverbs again. Thanks DJP for your love of wisdom (philo-sophia) and sharing it with us.

And happy birthday too.

Stefan Ewing said...

"If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you."
(Proverbs 1:23)

Uncanny. The significance of that verse never really sank in before: repentance and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit—in Proverbs.

donsands said...

Can one love the Scriptures too much? I am told that from time to time. And am told that I worship the Bible, and we are to worship God. I think it's an excuse for some people, and a reason not to read, study, and meditate upon the Bible..

The church culture surely does hate knowledge today. And in particular doctrine.

And they are countless examples out in the world.

BJ Irvin said...

Isn't it just amazing, and wonderful, how simple and clear God's word really is?

Stefan, I had a very similar reaction!

Thanks Dan.

Strong Tower said...

Does this strike anyone else as an out line Romans?

Tony Byrne said...

ESV Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Don't forget this step:

5. Do not read or listen with the motive to gain understanding. Listen merely for openings or opportunities to speak your own mind. Hastily desire to teach others. Read or listen to others only to refute them. Create a blog to demean, to mock, or to heap scorn upon those who differ from you [especially if you're a Calvinist with "discernment"], and also to write on subjects you haven't sufficiently studied. Also, comment on other blogs for the above reasons.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a guided tour to the internet. Especially Yahoo Answers ;)

Donsands- I get that crap too! From fellow believers who bear no fruits of repentence and whose lives are high-school chaos and whose ages range from 19 to 34, mind you ;) thanks for cluing me in I'm not the only one.

Solameanie said...


Happy birthday! I'll forgo my usual link to Youtube and the Beatles "Birthday."

Chris said...

So true indeed Dan! I went to the "list of 25" post and wow--I can see why it is one of your favorite! The subtext to so many of those items on the list, albeit their concise and economic wording, clearly and emphatically screams out volumes to the reader that can be condensed in this: "learn from my experience, learn from my failures, learn from my encounter with God's perfect and holy wisdom...despite my folly, and over against my own wretched sinfulness!" With the passing along of this kind of wisdom, a detailed context for each is hardly necessary. All of us who read through this list, if we are to be wise and not foolish, can and should immediately frame our own contexts around all of them (perhaps from our own sin within the very hour we read them), just as wisdom tells us we should do with all of the proverbs we read in scripture. In doing so, we can obtain the lesson we need without the pain that accompanies our own personal sins AT THAT MOMENT; in the NEXT MOMENT, however, regardless of how far away that next moment actually is, it will be the wisdom we learn firsthand from our own sin that we can and should pass along to our brethren.

This is what I think is so wonderful about wisdom: it originates with God, as the mind of God revealed, and it is then passed along to men and women who likewise pass it along to others. It is passed down vertically, we respond upward vertically, and we pass along God's wisdom horizontally. I personally wouldn't have so much of a problem with the horizontal empasis in the church today if it looked more like this, and/or if wisdom was ever allowed in the "conversation".


Chris said...

oh, Happy Birthday!

Rachael Starke said...

4 easy steps, 25 things you've learned....

Forget the book deal aspirations - I'm thinking monthly magazine, artwork and editorials by Phil, comics page courtesy of Frank, ....

Rachael Starke said...

But in all seriousness, I'm sure I speak for a lot of us when I say that you have become a true "wise friend". God bless you on your eleventieth 21st birthday!

Strong Tower said...

Ah, look, his permanent hair is just starting to come in.

(Since sola didn't)

Unknown said...

Happy birthday, Dan, and many blessings upon you for sharing the wisdom God has so generously bestowed. Your "25 Things" post is a well-worn page in my notebook-o-stuff written by far smarter folk than I.

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

Or maybe foolishness is when you make your life's work to have a blog that only discusses one subject only, and that in such a misguided and unbalanced way.

I mean if your going to have a blog with one subject, ya ought to get that one subject even nearly right!



Chris said...


"One subject only"? How do you figure that? ...unless, of course, that "one subject" is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If that's the case, I'm sure Dan and Phil would certainly agree :^D

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Wisdom. Better than gold or silver.

Thanks for kindly giving us all a birthday gift on your birthday!

Happy birthday!

Mike Riccardi said...


I think you got told to do something more profitable, "like ministry," on your birthday.

Oh well.

Happy birthday from these parts as well. Not sure if you remember from last year (I didn't till I read the post), but you and I have the same birthday. Hope you've had a joyful day.

DJP said...

Oh, I didn't!

Happy birthday right back atcha, youngster!

Susan said...

Happy Nth Birthday, Dan! (Fill in your own "N".) Thanks for this post and the link to the 25 things you learned thus far. Reading them is like a breath of fresh air after a long day at work (and boy, did I ever need it)!

Moon said...

Happy Birthday Mr. Phillips!! May our Lord Jesus Christ continue to bless you and your family and grow you in wisdom and Holiness!
Great post! Although I think one of these steps is enough for a person to be foolish. Looking forward to the rest of the post on Thursday.

J♥Yce Burrows said...

Hope you had a God is good birthday, Dan...

The book of Proverbs is rich ~ as is this post!


Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

Hey there Polycarp, not this blog brother, as this blog addresses many subjects and does so quite well. I was referring to another poster who made a comment, and I was referring incognito to his blog! Sorry for the confusion...


Chris said...


Oh.....I'M SORRY for not asking for more clarification from you, or for not going to your blogger link earlier, my brother. I just went to your blog and from the looks of it, you are most indeed aligned with this one, and you are far more knowlegable on theology and/or doctrine than i am (lower case intentional in this case)

Chris said...

correction: how to be a fool in "FIVE" easy steps, the fifth step being to respond to a comment on a blog (like I did)without making every effort possible to ascertain their position on the matter in question (like I should have done much sooner)!

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

Kudos to you Polycarp!...And may the Lord continue to bless your studies...and for everyone else I was referring to Ynottny and his blog, "Theological Meditations"...

The blog that attacks genuine Calvinists and has "one" subject ONLY, and that one subject, imbalanced and out of whack with a more robust Historical and reformed Calvinist understanding.

T Byrne (ynottny), being a Neo/Amaraldian and a Ponterite by conviction..
For more info see posts by James White re the Ponterites!!

Hopefully, one day, Mr P Johnson will call them out for their imbalance, rather than playing to their views. One can only hope!